The Registry Report

Sex Offender Registry News and Advocacy for Rational Reform

Legal Milestones

November 15, 2018 (Scheduled) 10th Circuit Court will hear Millard v. Rankin

On Sept. 1, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch recently found that the Colorado Sex Offender Registration Act violates the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and the due-process rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. Technically, the ruling only applies to the three plaintiffs in the case, but it could lead to more universal impact — particularly if the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the decision on appeal.

October 2, 2018 (Scheduled) U.S. Supreme Court will hear Gundy v. United States

The issue in the case is, “whether the law improperly delegates to the U.S. attorney general authority to decide whether SORNA’s registration requirements should apply to sex offenders who were convicted before SORNA was passed. Only Congress, Gundy says, has authority to legislate; it can, to at least some extent, outsource this power to another branch, but if it does so it must provide “clear guidance” – which it has failed to do with SORNA.”

September 7, 2018  6th Circuit Court of Appeals Reverses Decision Denying Due Process in Title IX University Cases

In Doe v. Baum, the Sixth Circuit reversed a lower court’s dismissal of an accused student’s due process lawsuit, holding: If a public university has to choose between competing narratives to resolve a case, the university must give the accused student or his agent an opportunity to cross-examine the accuser and adverse witnesses in the presence of a neutral fact-finder.  Opinion | TheFire.org | Original Case

August 29, 2018  SC Supreme Court Rules GPS Tech Cannot Be Assumed

In SC v. Brown – Associate Justice John Kittredge wrote, “The general acceptance of GPS technology does not … translate to the State getting a pass from making a minimum showing that the GPS records it seeks to introduce into evidence are accurate.” Court also cited NC’s GPS case, NC v. Griffin, in its opinion. Justia.com | Summary | TheState.com

August 20, 2018  IL Appellate Court Overturns Registrant Conditions

The Illinois state appellate court has overturned sex offender registration conditions placed on a defendant. The unanimous decision which was issued by a panel of Illinois’ 3rd District Appellate Court found that Illinois’ Sex Offender Registration Act and related restrictions, as applied to Devin M. Kochevar, violated both the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the proportionate penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution.  NARSOL | Opinion | Justia.com | MP3 of Oral Arguments in this case

August 17, 2018  Iowa Appellate Judge Dismisses Civil Commitment Suit

A nearly six-year-old lawsuit challenging Iowa’s program for keeping sex offenders confined after they serve their prison terms has been dismissed by a federal judge in Sioux City.  U.S. District Court Judge Mark Bennett ruled against patients in the Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders, or CCUSO, housed at the Mental Health Institute in Cherokee. Bennett dismissed the case with some reluctance, having disagreed with the 8th Circuit Court ruling in a previous Minnesota case. | Opinon | IA Pub Radio

August 11, 2018  Registrants w/ Out of State Convictions May Not Have to Register in AK

In a decision that combined two cases pending before the court, justices said a strict reading of the 1994 Alaska Sex Offender Registration Act does not grant the Alaska Department of Public Safety leeway when determining whether an out-of-state sex crime matches an illegal act under state law.  DecisionJuneauEmpire.com

August 7, 2018  GPS Violates 4th Amendment

The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled that the state government’s requirement that registrants wear a GPS tracking device is an unreasonable search which violates the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  Decision | CS Monitor  | ACSOL | Sacramento Bee | WLOS.com

August 6, 2018  Retroactive Lifetime Registration in NJ Struck Down

Two New Jersey registrants won an appeal after being retroactively forced to register for life. Both would have been eligible to be removed after 15 years, but a subsequent change in the law removed that opportunity. The Superior Court of New Jersey found the State changed the law retroactively, thereby changing the consequences of their guilty plea and creating a “manifest injustice” for the two individuals.  DecisionFL Action Comm. |

August 1, 2018  Reclass Burden of Proof on the State

The Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board has the burden of proof when determining whether a sex offender should not be moved to a less dangerous classification, the state’s highest court ruled. The Supreme Judicial Court also ruled in separate cases that indigent sex offenders have a right to legal counsel in reclassification hearings, and that those hearings must be held within a “reasonable” period of time. AP News | NARSOL

August 1, 2018  “CSA Accomodation Syndrome” Ruled Invalid

The New Jersey Supreme Court, reversing decades-old precedent, decided Tuesday that a psychological theory used for decades to prosecute criminal cases of child sexual abuse is largely invalid.  Syllabus | Law.com |

July 12, 2018  US Distr. Judge Dismisses ACSOL Challenge to Intl Megan’s Law

A Federal Judge in the Central District of California dismissed a challenge to the International Megan’s Law (IML). In a 17 page opinion (which can be read here), comprised of mostly history of the law, the Court found that the complaint brought by the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) should be dismissed without leave to amend.  FL Action Committee | Syllabus 

June 22, 2018  Lifetime Megan’s Law for Juveniles Unconstitutional

The New Jersey Supreme Court held that the irrebuttable presumption that a juvenile sex offender can never be rehabilitated and therefore is subject to a lifetime Megan’s Law notification requirement is unconstitutional. NJ Law Review | Justia | Law.com |

June 13, 2018  Residence Restriction Settlement for Registrant

A sex offender who sued West St. Paul, MN over its 2016 ordinance that restricted where he could live will receive $84,000 as part of a settlement agreement approved by a federal judge.  NARSOL | TwinCities.com |

May 31, 2018  Megan’s Law Enhancements Unconstitutional

The New Jersey Supreme Court held 2014 amendments to Megan’s Law enhancing certain penalties for sex offenders who violate parole requirements unenforceable against four defendants based on the ex post facto clauses of both the state and federal constitutions. NARSOL | NJ Law Journal |

April 17, 2018  “Crime of Violence” Unconstitutionally Vague

The United States Supreme Court affirmed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision that the definition of “crime of violence” is unconstitutionally vague.  NARSOL | Syllabus

March 31, 2018  Broward County Residency Restrictions Unconstitutional

Judge Mindy Solomon of Broward County has held Section 16-127 of the Fort Lauderdale Code of Ordinances unconstitutional both as applied and on its face. The effect of this ruling is to roll back an enhanced residency restriction applied to registered citizens which was enacted in October, 2007, and that prohibited all persons ever convicted of enumerated child sex offenses from residing within 1,400 feet of various designated landmarks, including schools and school bus stops. NARSOL | FL Action Committee

March 12, 2018  WV Internet Restriction Unconstitutional

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has ruled that completely restricting a person’s access to the internet as a condition of their parole from prison is a violation of the First Amendment. NARSOL | WVRecord.com

November 7, 2017  PA: “Sexually Violent Predator Designation Unconstitutional

A panel of appellate judges ruled that Pennsylvania’s established process to designate a convicted sex offender as a “sexually violent predator” is unconstitutional. NARSOL

October 6, 2017 AZ Strikes Down Enhanced Sentences When No Child Involved

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that judges cannot impose enhanced sentences on those convicted of soliciting sex with a minor when it turns out there was no child to begin with.  NARSOL | Tucson.com

June 19, 2017  Packingham vs North Carolina – SCOTUS Strikes Down Internet Ban

In Packingham vs. North Carolina, the US Supreme Court said a North Carolina law that made it a felony for sex offenders to access sites such as Facebook, Snapchat and LinkedIn violated the First Amendment. “To foreclose access to social media altogether is to prevent the user from engaging in the legitimate exercise of First Amendment rights,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote. “Even convicted criminals — and in some instances, especially convicted criminals — might receive legitimate benefits from these means for access to the world of ideas, in particular if they seek to reform and to pursue lawful and rewarding lives.”  SyllabusUSA Today | Washington Post

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